Thursday, March 1, 2012

Wobbly on the Trail

I took my old bike down to the river this evening, with paint box and easel, and two bottles of beer, and about 8 layers of clothes, and tried to re-establish some sort of relationship with the place I used to paint. It had changed, but it was a bit like an old friend, pushing my bike across the thorns and tall winter grass, flattened to the ground by winter. I saw no one, I set up by the river, close to the edge, with the sun a half hour from setting and glowing through clouds.

Its the place I have painted one hundred times, and looking anywhere, I could pretty much see a painting I'd done. But due to circumstances beyond my control, I hadn't been back there in two years, almost, and here I was again, to see if there were new lessons here, and to be back with an old friend, in this case, just a landscape.

There is so much beauty in a field, and a river, and clouds, and a vista or two, and in the damp brown grass. And a beer into it, beauty generally increases, and it's intense and like this other world one visits for a time, like some sort of dream. Its not really meditation for me, it's its own thing. I don't know what the chord is that gets struck, some of it has to do with being at root a loner kid in the woods, who spent a lot of time there working out childhood and adolescence by talking to trees and streams, and some has to do with nature in general, and its ability to transport us to higher planes, and not worry as much about the smaller circles of troubles.

Its not what i generally need or look for in finding a place to paint, but this time, it was important. There's a lot going on right now, and lots of tensions and unsurety.

I painted the water, the land, a tree, the shape of a far hill, the sky. Half assed, I wasn't feeling it like i should, And I scraped it out. And worked it again. And again. But it lay dead. So i scraped it out and looked up river to the penitentiary, and its the best view of all, and i think i made something OK, though its still strapped to my bike and I don't know if it is OK or not.

I rode back clanging with gear, wobbly on the trail (due to the gear, not the beer). Ive painted since I was 16, or 17, and that's a long time to be doing something that you are still not sure about.  But I paint pretty much the same thing as I did when i was that age- shapes in a landscape. Its like a theme, its not a choice, its your motif. You will paint it again and again and find it hard to escape.

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